Below, the Principal of Castle School explains the thinking behind offering trilingual education along with links to relevant language research and answers to some of the questions you may have. Please take the time to read this or contact us to discuss this exciting new direction in primary education.
I am incredibly excited by our initiative to put languages at the heart of the education we offer. The team involved in developing our Prep School is made up of dedicated and passionate people with personal and professional experience of schooling and education where languages play an integral part in daily activities.
The thinking behind our decision to offer trilingual education
We are incredibly privileged in Wales, not only to live in a beautiful country but also to have the opportunity for our children to be educated bilingually. We can see at firsthand how easy it is for children to become fluent speakers of two languages by 11 years old. Many of the 65,000 children that attend Welsh speaking primaries do not come from Welsh speaking families and in many parts of the Principality will not be exposed to Welsh outside of their school day. Still we see them becoming confident communicators in both Welsh and English. This highlights children’s linguistic capacity in their early years.
A child’s ability to learn additional languages painlessly at an early age is an enormous natural resource which remains largely untapped in the UK. What a waste! In a world that is growing ever smaller: with economies and societies growing ever more demanding of language skills – surely this natural resource should be nurtured and celebrated?
At Castle School we believe that, by offering our pupils the opportunity to learn in a multi-lingual environment, we are offering them a head start in life.
Our brains are designed to handle the acquisition of multiple languages. According to cognitive neuroscientists, brain tissue in young brains is specialized for language acquisition so it’s no surprise that young children, immersed in a high-quality multilingual experience, absorb language more readily than adults.
At Castle School Prep our aim is to see pupils at 11 years old confidently communicating in three languages; we seek to make them true global citizens who are well prepared for the next step of their educational journey. Our driving motivation is for children to be engaged with the world both close to them and at large, navigating it as caring, responsible, understanding and confident global citizens. During a child’s time in our prep we will be ensuring that English skills are in no way compromised. We have taken the decision to teach science and maths purely through the medium of English, in line with many Welsh medium schools and we feel this makes sense – to use the internationally acknowledged language of science will better equip our children for later learning in these subjects.
At Castle School Prep, all children will be encouraged to learn three languages. Adults will speak to children at a level and about subjects that naturally engage and intrigue them. Communicating with others is an activity children want to engage in and they will naturally move between Welsh and Spanish as well as their native English as they become more fully immersed in a multilingual learning environment.
Please feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss any area of our Prep School further.
Apologies for the lengthiness of this note but I feel it is vital that you understand why and how we are going to run a multilingual prep school.